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tv   A Personal History of Eleanor Roosevelt  CSPAN  December 27, 2017 4:50pm-5:49pm EST

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announcer 1: in his book grandmere, david roosevelt memories of his grandmother and her life outside the political spotlight. the home of franklin d. roosevelt national historic site features this spring when a his presidential library next door, and the final resting places of fdr and first lady eleanor roosevelt. we visited the grounds and went to the home of david roosevelt, a grandson of president and mrs. roosevelt, to talk about his memories of hyde park and his time spent there with his grandmother. david roosevelt: it really was not until my grandmother's funeral that i realized that it really kind of hit me that she andreally special person inething of a celebrity
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seeing the president, two ex-r presidents, all sorts of ambassadors and other diplomatic people, very important people, that really dawned on me, my gosh, she really was important. we never thought of her in that way. we never viewed my grandmother. she was only a grandmother to us, and that is all she ever wanted to be to us. 3, 1942.n in january my father was elliott, and elliott was the second oldest of the sons and third oldest of the children, so my dad kind of fell right in the middle. i think he always felt that he
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was the middle child, but you claimmy uncles used to that he was my grandmother's favorite. i am not sure that was true, but that is what they claimed anyway. my mother and father were divorced when i was only two, and my time with my father was really quite limited and as a consequence, you know -- the rememberg that i can was howim talking about he almost felt somewhat estranged from my grandmother because -- i mean, he loved her she was so busy that
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it was almost he felt that she didn't have time for him. my grandmother, by her own admission, was not a particularly good mother. experience of not having a mother to grow up with -- she never learned how to be a mother, good or bad. and as a consequence, i think she paid special attention to her grandchildren to make up for not being a good mother. i can remember going for quite lengthy walks in the woods with my grandmother, and she was always -- would always want to know what my interests were.
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as a child at 7, 8, nine years old, gosh, here is my grandmother paying attention to me and wanting to know how my life is going. about,y seldom talked until we were much older, she very seldom talked about her work and the things that she did , as i said, until we were considerably older. she was a typical grandmother, but my grandmother was a horrible cook. she did not cook. know, she always made time for the grandchildren that were there. and they had a very special run ofand we had the
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val-kill, of the place. no.ere very, very busy, but she was -- i just remember the times i had with her and remember being with her and really basking in her love. >> how was she has a grandmother ? was she any type of disciplinarian, or was she an indulgent grandmother? david roosevelt: she was very indulgent. she was absolutely no disciplinarian whatsoever. yes, she was very, very indulgent of all of us. , you know, there were a lot of times when she would have someone who was quite famous visiting her, and you know, the
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grandchildren would disturb her or disturb them, and she would never scold us. she would just say, you know, that is my grandchild, or whatever, and that was it. it was no problem. >> you don't remember any particular dignitary or person of importance that you guys were particularly maybe obnoxious? david roosevelt: well, there is the story of a little seven-year-old who was out in the pool with his cousins and of course, we were not allowed to go into the stone cottage which is where the pool is. and of courseoom, you as a child you always waited until the absolute last moment. so the story goes this little boy ran right through grand
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mere's office going to the restroom, water flying off of him and whatnot, and right past my grandmother and madame chiang kai-shek. and grandmere said that was my grandson david, and i will introduce him on his way back. scolding there was no whatsoever. that is the way it was. >> did you ever at any point -- you mentioned you did not get how famous your grandmother was until her funeral, but was there any indication of her fame or her public service growing up? david roosevelt: oh, sure. there were times when i would accompany my grandmother to
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various activities that she was doing. i remember one down in texas when she came, and she was going church downa black in -- i believe it was houston, i believe. and i went with her, and to see the adoration that these people -- and people were lined up in the streets waiting for her. .nd it was so touching of course i was older at that time. times when she did not receive such warm welcomes as well. now i did not have the opportunity to travel with her
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internationally. my brother and sister dead, some of my other cousins, but i did not unfortunately. >> what were some of those things, the negative perception that your grandmother received, and what was your reaction to that? david roosevelt: you know, i can remember a few cases of where there would be, within the crowd there would be signs, you know, that were derogatory towards my grandmother. and you know, it did not bother me so much because i knew that she -- at the time i knew she was controversial. now i don't know if you realized that during her lifetime, there were 19 attempts to assassinate her. and so, you know, she was not universally loved by any stretch
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of the imagination. thereean, what do you sit -- what is the talk of the dinner table when, you know, everyone is talking and someone says, they just tried to kill grandma? what does the family do? david roosevelt: for the most part it was not talked about. it was certainly not discussed. in a lot of cases, it was just -- it happened. the k.k.k. is the largest --
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had the largest bounty on her ead. there was one occasion when some of the kkk had an opportunity to assassinate her, and a very good opportunity. the story goes they couldn't bring themselves to kill this woman. it was very real. a very real. >> did your grandmother ever speak about a? >> never. and certainly not to her grandchildren. she never had personal protection whatsoever. i think she just accepted that er work was too important to allow any kinds of threats to disturb her. she just went right on doing her thing. >> do you remember at all any
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of your relationship with fdr, and did eleanor talk about him as you all were growing up? >> it is interesting. i was too young to really remember my grandfather, but i don't recall my grandmother ever specifically discussing fdr with us. hey had an interesting relationship. certainly it was not the kind of marriage that one would think of as a normal marriage, and yet they had such a strong artnership, and such respect
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for each other and each other's work that it really made it quite a special relationship, i think. if i would ask my grandmother about fdr, she would answer, and it was always very positive, very loving. but she did not dwell on that at all. i don't think my grandmother really enjoyed being first lady, being married to the president, although i think she realized after fdr became president that it placed her in position where she could have impact in areas that she was really interested in
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herself. civil rights, human rights, things like that, education. it really was quite a striking artnership between the two. >> when your grandmother passed away? >> 1962. >> do your member the day that you are -- do you remember the day you were told that she had passed? >> oh yeah. was in texas. i immediately left to come back up here. it was a terrible shock. it's funny, i don't think i ever really believed that she would never pass away, -- that she would ever pass away. it put quite a hole in my heart.
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>> why do you decide -- why did you decide to write a book about your grandmother? >> that's interesting because i really had no interest in writing yet another biography of my grandmother, and i thought it would be kind of fun for people to know about my grandmother from the perspective of a grandchild who knew her. i think there's a lot of misconception about my randmother and what she wanted to try to accomplish. the thing that impresses me most about my grandmother is she really didn't care what other people thought.
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she would do what she felt was in the best interest of her helping people, helping mankind, actually. that was always the thing that impressed me the most. the only thing that i recall -- and i think she told everyone of her grandchildren -- was be roud of your heritage. be proud of the traditions of your family, but never feel that you have to live up to
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that legacy. you must be your own person. that is something that all of us carried with us for our ntire lives. >> a child's hobby that became the passion of a president.
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>> he really made stamp collecting what it became. because when he was 8 years old and his mother and his father, james and sara roosevelt, introduced him to stamp collecting, it was thought to be a child's hobby. and adults would never waste their time on stamp collecting. it was too trivial for them. and so what was interesting about f.d.r. was he was never interested in the condition of the stamp, the value of the stamp. he was more interested in the person, place or event pictured n the stamp. he got an education out of stamp collecting. and that came back stomb him very well. i can tell you a very short story when he was president of the united states and we got
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into world war ii. he was in the war room with all the generals and admirals and they were going over and planning an attack on a certain country. he would always seem to weave stamp collecting into his speeches and he was so enthusiastic that finally
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adults, other adults, were saying, wait a minute, if this is good enough for the governor of new york, why shouldn't i be collectingings? and suddenly just the mindset of the country started changing and people were at fifth avenue cocktail parties discussing heir latest stamp acquisition. it definitely changed the whole office of the post office department at that time. when he ran for president in 1932 he was sworn in on march 4, 1933, but he selected another up and coming politician and a very savvy businessman, his name was james folly. and he made him his campaign manager and folly seized on the fact that f.d.r. was touching people personally, well, he collects stamps and i'm collecting stamps. he was a regular guy because of that. so he actually designed campaign envelopes that had
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f.d.r.'s imprint, his picture on the outside of the envelope, and it said, elect the stamp collecting president. you know, member of the american association. because he wanted that message floating around the country. between followy, once he got into the oval office, for instance, i'll give you some changes that took place. f.d.r. personally took away a job from an assistant post master general and he insisted on reviewing and giving final approval to every stamp that came out during his four terms as president. that happened to be 206 stamps. on top of that, he designed several stamps, his most famous walz the admiral bird. he was very good friends with admiral bird and he was doing his second expedition and f.d.r. personally designed the stamp. also with f.d.r. and james followy, you had his close ally
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as post master jeb and you had a stamp collector sitting in the oval office. and they did so many things to change the face of the post office. one of them was putting in at f.d.r.'s suggestion a philatelic window. and what that was, he said, i don't like stamp collectors being rushed when they're looking at stamps at a normal window because there's a customer with a heavy parcel mumbling behind them. so he put in the windows that were only to be usde by stamp collectors. so you could take all your time at that window because the person behind you was going to do the same thing. they introduced first-day ceremonies which still go on today. and that was james folly's idea. he said, we have to get people excited about stamps. so the first time they would see a new stamp is when they went to the window and bought a sheet of stamps. folly didn't like that. he said, we have to have ceremonies to get the networks out and the newspapers so
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that's still ongoing. and it's a very good tool to get that information out there. so they really, really -- the two men really changed the face of the post office department. this is actually a piece that belonged to the f.d.r. collection and i have an interesting story to tell about this. on the back, the auction house, h. harner incorporated, which were auctioneers in new york ity and in london. any starped the back and -- stamped the back. you see, it was going to the secretary of state. when f.d.r. first got in the oval o he found that his predecessor was also a stamp collector but not nearly on the level as f.d.r. and he initiated a program with the state department that once the contents were taken out of these envelopes, all the envelopes this one in
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particular is from 1935, all the envelopes would be forwarded, the empty enveloped, to the oval office to see if the president needed the stamps for his collection. well f.d.r., he went a step higher. he once wrote a letter in pencil on white house stationary and got it in my hands when i was researching for the book and it was from the president to the secretary f state. it was a hand-written in pencil letter to the secretary of state where f.d.r. was a accusing the state department employees of holding back some of the empty envelopes and he insisted that the secretary of state oversee that operation. and he -- any stamps that he didn't need, his first secretary as president would snip them off and when she got 25 she put them in, today we call it a plastic baggy,
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because he was getting thousands of letters from children saying, mr. president, i started a stamp collection, and missie would send them a letter on behalf of the president wishing them well with their collection and starting them off with 25 stamps. so f.d.r. was in every facet of the industry at that time. he had a portion of his stamp collection with him everywhere he went. that includes, well obviously he had it at springwood, his house. when he was governor, he had a portion of his stamp collection with him in the top left drawer of his desk. and there were certain memos that i read that when he was on a particularly boring conversation as governor, he would slide the drawer open and start working with his left hand on his stamp collection until the torment of the boring conversation ended. and then he had it obviously at the white house with him. he had a portion of his collection at warm springs, georgia. he even brought a portion of
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his stamp collection to the famous war conference with churchill and stalin. and he was said to work on his stamp collection every single day for one hour before going to bed. and one of the reasons he said was to, you know, let him unwind from the hectic day that he had. especially during the war period. the war years. he passed away while he was down at warm springs, georgia, on april 12, 1945. he worked on them that morning when he got up. it was part of his routine. then he, you know, of course he died that afternoon at 3:35. now, his son, james, was the executor of the will. believe it or not, james could not find one member of the roosevelt family that even wanted one item from the stamp collection. i don't have an exact number on how many items were in the collection, but when he decided
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to turn it over to an auction house, james finally decided, my father would probably want to share this with other collectors. there were so many items that they had to do the auction over seven days in four separate sessions, all day sessions. and while his collection was estimated at $85 thourks which surprises a lot of people because -- $85,000, which surprises a lot of people, because he was a man of worth, but he didn't care if the stamps were bent or there was oil from his fingers, they raised 2ds25,000. everyone was furious to get a piece of the collection. >> franklin roosevelt's presidential library curator tures the library's permanent exhibit dedicated to president roosevelt's four terms in office during the great depression and world war ii.
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the library embarked on ambitious plan to look at the entire museum and really bring it all up to date. the completely new galleries opened in 2013. and basically everything you see at the museum now dates
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from that 2013 reopening. it's all brand new. a fresh look at both the lives of franklin and eleanor roosevelt and of the roosevelt presidency. the exhibition begins in 1932. the year franklin roosevelt was elected president of the united states. in 1932 was a year of tremendous crisis for the nation and the world. the country was in the third year of the great depression. in 1929, when the depression began, unemployment in the united states was at 3.2%. by the time roosevelt's running for president in the fall of 1932, it's almost 25%. so the context of the election was of a nation really in a state of disarray and a state of fear. this gallery really points that out. we have some dramatic photography which shows you the state of affairs nationally.
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he have dramatic photography which shows you the state of affairs nationally. this photograph in particular is poignant. this is a photograph of new york's central park in 1932, and in the foreground a shantytown, one of many like this that had sprouted up across the nation. many of them were nicknamed hoovervilles. this particular one, people are living in the shantytown in the shadow of the metropolitan museum of art. it is a very poignant reminder of the scale of human suffering in the year 1932 when roosevelt is running for president.
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the 1932 democratic convention was held in chicago, and when roosevelt was nominated, he received word of the nomination in albany, and he did something unprecedented in american politics and quite dramatic. he flew out to the convention to accept the nomination in person. up to that point, when american presidential candidates received the nomination of their party, they would receive a delegation formally at their home or a political site in their home state, but they did not go to the convention and did not deliver the speech at the convention. roosevelt broke with that convention in a radical way. he is delivering his acceptance speech to the convention. it is an electrifying moment in american political history, and it is this speech where he first uses the expression "a new deal." mr. roosevelt: i pledge myself to a new deal for the american people. >> that new expression becomes highly associated with the presidency, but it appears first when he delivers his acceptance speech. roosevelt was elected in a landslide. in those days, after the election, there was a long period between when the election took place and when the president took the oath of
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ffice. on march 4, 1933, fdr takes the oath of office as president, nd he takes the oath on this enormous and historic family bible. this is a dutch family bible that had been in his family for generations. it had come over in the 17th century when the family came over to america. it's a unique level in many regards. most importantly, it is the only bible used by a president for four different inaugurals. subsequently, there was a constitutional amendment passed which limits all presidents to two terms. roosevelt's 1933 inaugural is famous for many reasons, the most enduring line from his speech is something we
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remember. president roosevelt: let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. >> he says that at a time when the nation really is a state of fear. it is the low point of the great depression. people are frightened. and he's trying to steel the nerves of the nation. there's a lot of speculation about where it came from. we have on display here the first pages from several drafts of the speech. first is in roosevelt's handwriting, written in february 1933, and the first draft you do not see that line at all. it appears on page 1 of the final draft, which was put together on march 1, 1933, and that is the first time we see it in the speech. there's a lot of discussion where this line comes from. we know that fdr's chief political adviser is the person
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who put the line in speech, but we do not know where howe got the line from. there are theories about this. the most plausible one is that enry david thoreau a century earlier had once written nothing "so much to be feared s fear." that is a line that is awfully close to the one that howe inserted in the speech for roosevelt delivered. we may have thoreau to thank for that. the last is page 1 that oosevelt used. you see a little line at the top that roosevelt has added, and he wrote that in pencil while he was waiting in the capitol building. he says, this is a day of national consecration.
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p until the age of 39, franklin roosevelt had a charmed life, including a political career that was on an upward trajectory. in 1920, he had been the democratic party's candidate for vice president, and he was idely seen as a likely candidate for president in 1924 and 1928. at this point in his life, tragedy struck. in 1921, is not contracted polio. it left him paralyzed permanently from the waist down. he withdrew from politics completely. it was a time when he disappeared from politics. during that period, he focused on trying to find a cure for his condition, although he was never able to walk again unassisted.
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but he also worked on building of his body, trying to figure out a way how to be able to reenter political life, and so he built up his upper body and he is looking for ways to be able to stand in public and to e able to at least approximate some sort of ability to walk in public. in order to do that, he had to use their heavy steel races. these are example from her collection. these weight about 10 pounds. they locked at the knees. it is only by the use of braces like these that fdr was able to stand. in order to make the ability to walk, he needed to do more, so he would take a cane and he would often lock arms with a ery strong companion, and then supporting himself on those two sources, he would pitch his
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body forward and have a slow, jerky kind of walking could do over short distances. this took tremendous physical strength, and he had to build his upper body over time to do that, and also took a great deal of concentration. the interesting thing is over time he is able to master that to the point where he can be smiling and nodding and acting as if he does not have a care in the world, when he is focusing on the able to walk that short distance. these kinds of techniques gave him the ability to go back into public and reenter politics. it took a long time for them to get to that point. it is not until 1928 they runs again for political office, but he runs in that year for governor of new york, he is elected narrowly, and reelected in a landslide in 1930. that is what sets him off for becoming the democratic candidate for president in
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930. after the inaugural, fdr springs into action during what became known as his first hundred days. during his first hundred days in office, he passes a whole series of legislation and other acts that really just galvanize the nation's attention and really he is pushing reforms in a number of areas, trying to arrest the decline of the nation and turn the tide of epression. arguably the most important chievement of fdr's first term and when he was most proud of was the social security act, passed in 1935. it provided for old-age pensions for american and unemployment insurance. this is probably fdr's proudest achievement of the new deal and a high point of his first term. one of the things that we wanted to be sure visitors to the museum understood was the continuing reality of fdr's disability. this is a man is paralyzed from the waist down.
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what is interesting is to see what the public perception of that was. one of the things that we point out the visitors here is that we have 130,000 photographs of fdr, but we only have four that show him in a wheelchair. that is because there was an unspoken rule that was observed by the press and media at the time that you do not photograph the president sitting in a wheelchair. you do not photograph him in ways that would reveal the extent of his disability. the public knew that he had some form of disability, but what was not understood was how great a disability it was. this incredible photograph of fdr is taken right in front of the home here in hyde park on election night in 1936, and he is leaning because he has just won a tremendous victory.
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this is a huge landslide. he wins every state in the nation except maine and vermont. his mother is then to the left of him, two of his sons, and on the far right eleanor roosevelt. this victory was so immense that fdr really felt confident going into his second term that he was going to be able to expand the new deal. he had all kinds of ambitious plans for what he wanted to do on the domestic front. but as a lot of presidents find out as they go into their second term, events can sometime take surprising turns, and in fact his second term turns out to be a lot different than what he thought it might be. very early in the second term, fdr gets involved in a big conflict with congress. he becomes concerned that the supreme court striking down a lot of new deal legislation, and he becomes concerned in particular that there is a court case involving the social
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security act might end with the court striking down that as unconstitutional. he comes up with a reform plan, but his opponents called a court-packing plan. it was a plan to put additional members on to the supreme court, presumably he would then get a majority that would support his legislation. this becomes a contentious issue, and despite the large majorities in the house and the senate, his plan for the reform of the court or the court packing fails, and it is a major political defeat for him. on top of that, the country goes into a recession. the unemployment rate had been going down throughout his first term. in 1937, 1938, the so-called roosevelt recession comes in and unemployment begins go back -- to go back up.
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this also weakens him politically at a critical moment. despite the importance of all of these developments, i think the most important element that occurs during roosevelt's second term and one that takes the whole focus of his presidency in a different direction are the rise of threats overseas that occur during the mid and late 1930's. this large map of both europe and also of asia begins to illustrate that story. you have overseas threats arising with japan, in asia, with germany and italy, in europe, and north africa. and these threats, these rising overseas threats occupy more and more of roosevelt's time and attention. and ultimately, they lead to his decision to run for an unprecedented third term as president. the 1940 election was very controversial for two
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reasons. one, fdr was running for an unprecedented third term as president. no previous president had ever served more than two terms. the other big issue was the war. world war ii broke out in europe in 1939, and in the subsequent year, there were advances by germany in europe. and roosevelt was concerned to provide aid to great britain, which was struggling hard to hold out against the nazi onslaught. but american public opinion is -- was very isolationist at the time. people had sympathy for the victims of hitler's aggression. but they were very leery getting involved directly. there were some fear if roosevelt was elected was going to pull the nation into world war ii. that issue was a key one during the 1940 campaign. in the end, roosevelt was
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re-elected to a third term. he lost some support in the midwest, but he still wins by a fairly comfortable margin, 54.8% of the vote to 44.8% for his opponent, wendell wilkie. on the afternoon of december 7, 1941, fdr was in his private study in the white house residence. it was a sunday afternoon, so most of the white house staff was not in the building. roosevelt was alone except for his advisor, harry hopkins. roosevelt was working with this stamp collection when suddenly the phone on his desk rings, and it is the secretary of the navy telling him that the pearl harbor navy base in hawaii is under attack from japan. roosevelt immediately calls in his advisers. all the staff comes back to the white house, and they go to crisis mode. the late afternoon, roosevelt
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at one point asks all the staff members to leave his study in the residence except for his private secretary. and at that point, he dictates himself the first draft of one of the most famous speeches in his presidency. [video clip] president roosevelt: yesterday, december 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy -- >> this is the first draft of that speech. roosevelt dictated it to his secretary, and then she in turn typed it up. and then what you see on these pages is in pencil fdr personally editing his speech. there are a lot of fascinating edits, but the most famous one is that what he does to the first sentence. in the first sentence he takes the original words "world history," he changes it to
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infamy. and he changes the word "summitly" to "suddenly." and in that way he transforms that sentence into yesterday, december 7, 19641, a date which will live in infamy, the united states was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of japan. a line that has come down through the decades to us today as one of the most memorable lines of his presidency. the whole speech is a memorable one, and a very short one. only about six minutes when he delivers it the following day to a joint session of ongress. president roosevelt: the empire of japan. >> this enormous globe was actually in the oval office during world war ii. fdr received this as a gift from general george marshall, who was chief of staff of the army during the war. marshall had a number of these large globes made under a special order from a company in chicago, and he gave it to fdr
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as a christmas in 1942. roosevelt kept it by his oval office desk. this globe is balanced on some really finely tuned rollers, so if i was to touch it with a light touch, i could move it in any way. this sort of thing was handy for a disabled president to have at his fingertips when he is planning and involved in a global war. and roosevelt obviously made a lot of use of this during world war ii. one of the things we look at in this portion of the expedition is fdr's attendance at key wartime conferences. he went to a number of conferences during the war, arguably the two most important were the tehran conference in 1943 and the yalta conference in 1945. he met with the so-called big three, winston churchill, joseph stalin and, of course, roosevelt. long before the end of the war
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fdr is already thinking about the postwar period. so in november of 1943, when he journeys to tehran for this conference, he has several important things on the agenda. one of them is trying to ensure hat his partners in the allied coalition will sign on to the idea of a postwar organization, what becomes the united nations, that he hopes will prevent the outbreak of a third world war. and one of the interesting documents we have on display here is actually a little sketch that fdr made at the tehran conference in 1942. -- 1943. this is in his handwriting. an aide saved this sketch. and in this drawing you can see in fdr's own writing a real kind of broad broke sketch of what he thought the united nations might be. it starts on the left here with a little circle marked 40 u.n. that represented the 40 nations at that time were in the united
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nations coalition that were fighting the axis powers. and this represents the idea of what becomes the u.n. general assembly. in the center, you have something marked executive committee, and this is the full-time staff of what would become the united nations, the secretariat. nd the last circle, which is marked four police, which is rosevelt's conception of what became the security council of the united nations. the four police roosevelt had in mind were the united states, great britain, the soviet union, and the fourth country was going to be china, which he felt was an up and coming power and deserving of being among the four policemen or the security council of the united nations. there in broad strokes, the ideas that he's kicking around in his mind for the postwar organization. it is telling that roosevelt is thinking of this. this is 1943. the war is from fromhe is
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already thinking beyond the horizon. over but thinking what becomes after the war. in 1944 in the midst of the war, fdr runs for president, a fourth term as president. and you see in this photograph that the president by this time is in ill health. he is suffering from heart disease, and he is slowing down. the public is not quite aware of just how ill he is. roosevelt runs in 1944, and at 1944 democratic commission there was a big fight over who was going to be his running mate. his sitting vice president was henry wallace, a liberal figure within the democratic party, and the members of the party who were more conservative who did not want wallace in that position. they were looking for a more conservative vice president. as often happens, there's a compromise. the conservatives and liberals within the party agree on a candidate for vice president,
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and that man, you see him at the far end of that photograph, is harry truman. this photograph we are looking at is at the 1945 inaugural. if you look closely at it, fdr is not in really good point at this point. in fact, he dies three months after this photograph is taken in april of 145, and he is succeeded bihari truman who is standing to his left in the photograph. shortly after the inaugural, fdr departed on a 7000-mile journey to yalta, in the crimea, which is the final of the great conferences as he attends with the big three, stalin, churchill, roosevelt. after the conference, fdr returns to the united states, and he appears before congress in march of 1945 to deliver an address reporting on what he had done at the yalta conference. what is extraordinary about this speech to a joint session
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of congress is that roosevelt delivered this speech from a seated position and he did it because he was exhausted and suffering from poor health. in the course of that speech, he directly acknowledges his disability for the only time in is presidency. president roosevelt: mr. speaker, members of the congress, i hope you pardon me in an unusual posture of sitting down during a presentation of what i want to say. i hope you realize it is a lot easier in not having to carry about 10 pounds of steel at the bottom of my legs and also because of the fact i just completed a 14,000-mile trip. [applause] >> this was an extraordinary moment at the end of his life, the end of his presidency, the one and only time during his presidency where he acknowledges his disability. shortly after delivering his speech to the joint session
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about the conference, fdr traveled down to warm springs, georgia, where he had kept a retreat for many years. it was the site of the rehabilitation center he set up in the 1920's for the treatment of polio patients like himself. he was down there in warm springs on april 12, 1945, when he was stricken by a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died that afternoon. this was a profound shock for the country. people within fdr's inner circle, his family, advisers, understood the president was very ill. but the general public to not -- did not know that so when the announcement came on april 12, 1945, of his death, there was grief of a real profound nature throughout the nation. what you need to understand about this is that the country's at war, he's been president for over 12 years, younger people, especially, had
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known no other president. i often point out to people if you were a soldier, sailor, 18, 19 years old, you would have been very young, 5, 6 years old when he was first inaugurated. so this hits with real power across the nation, and we see it reflected in the film and photography of the public mourning that occurs in the days and weeks after his death on april 12. ♪ >> at the end of the gallery dealing with fdr's presidency, we present what is probably the most important artifact in our entire collection. that is the actual oval office desk and chair that the president used throughout presidency. what happened was in the aftermath of fdr's death and all the public mourning that
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was going on, his successor, harry truman, didn't feel right keeping the desk and chair used by fdr, so he gave them both to eleanor, and she donated them to the roosevelt library. they were put on display in 1945, and have remained on public display ever since. in addition to the actual desk and chair, we have many of the items that the president had on the desk at the time of his death. we have it arranged almost as close as we can get it to the way it looked in march of 1945, the last time he sat here. what you see is obviously a wide variety of things. some serious items, a lot of whimsical items. fdr had a since of humor. he enjoyed having little is he ceramic figures and stuff animals, toys, and things on the desk. also against the many serious items, and that he was using. on the left side of the desk, you see a portfolio that has the portraits of his four sons who all served in america's
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military during world war ii. like all parents whose children are serving in the military, he wanted to have a photo of them nearby, in this case, on his working desk. you also see on the right side of the desk his daily schedule. would have been a schedule tucked into that holder every day, a list of the appointments and what he was supposed to be doing at different times. again, we have it arranged for the last day that he was at the desk in march of 1945. one last thing i will point out about the chair, if you look carefully at the armrests of the chair, you see it is worn down. that is from over 12 years of the president using it and being disabled. of course he is putting a lot of pressure on their as he is getting in and out of the chair and it is worn down really heavily as you seen the left and right side. franklin roosevelt is certainly one of the most consequential
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presidents in our history. he dramatically changed the relationship of the american people to the federal government. he advocated reforms that have a continuing impact on our lives today. and he had a worldwide impact through his advocacy for the united nations and other international organizations, which he hoped would ensure greater international cooperation and ultimately greater ease among -- peace among nations. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> coming up here on c-span, a relationship with cornell west and alan. d then q&a with allison stanger about murray appearing on campus. mr. murray and professor stanger were physically attacked following the event. time in primetime, the first amendment and hate speech
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online and on college campuses. the national constitution center co-hosted the debate with the federalist society and the american constitution society. hat's at 8:00 eastern. harvard professors cornell west dershowitz talked about the sanctions movement will help bring about an end to the conflict. it's a global campaign that aims to increase economic and political pressure on israel over its activities against palestinians. the hour, 45 minute event was hosted by the debate center at ld parkland in dallas. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for being here. my name is eric and it's my privilege to moderate this


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